Canada Wins Bronze in Men’s Team Sprint on Final Day of World Cup in Obihiro

Blondin finishes fourth in ladies 3000m; Dubreuil, Weidemann and Gélinas-Beaulieu also earn top 10 results

OBIHIRO, JAPAN – The Canadian long track team earned its first medal of the World Cup season, a bronze in the men’s team sprint event, on the final day of competition at the 2018 ISU World Cup Speed Skating #1 in Obihiro, Japan. Four athletes also skated to top 10 results in individual distances.

The men’s sprint team, consisting of Quebec skaters Laurent Dubreuil of Lévis, Antoine Gélinas-Beaulieu of Sherbrooke and Christopher Fiola of Montreal, brought home Canada’s first medal of the international season. They posted a time of 1:20.980 and scored 96 World Cup points in the race, which put them in the bronze medal position, behind silver medalist Norway and gold medalist the Netherlands.

“The race was really good,” remarked Fiola, who is in his third season on the World Cup circuit. “The other teams were really fast, but we still managed to get the bronze medal. It’s really encouraging for the World Cups to come and we know we can do even better.”

Canada came fifth in the ladies’ team sprint, behind a podium that included Russia, Japan and the Netherlands. The team of Kaylin Irvine of Calgary, Alta., Heather McLean of Winnipeg, Man. and Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa, Ont. posted a time of 1:29.540 and netted 80 points for the World Cup standings.

It was a good day for many of the skaters participating in individual distances as well.

On the heels of yesterday’s fifth place finish in the ladies’ mass start race, Blondin earned another impressive result on Sunday, this time a fourth-place finish in the ladies 3000m.

The two-time Olympian, who won a pair of World Cup medals in the distance last season, completed the race in 4:05.702 and occupied the bronze medal position going into the final pairing. She would get bumped off the podium by the eventual silver medalist Natalia Voronina of Russia, who posted a time of 4:04.607.

Isabelle Weidemann of Ottawa, Ont., who was crowned national champion in the ladies 3000m at last month’s Canadian Single Distance Championships, skated a time of 4:07.139 and finished ninth. It marked her second top 10 result of this World Cup, the first an eighth-place finish in yesterday’s mass start.

Dubreuil earned his third top 10 result of the weekend – a seventh-place finish in the men’s 1000m – thanks to a time of 1:09.606. He had previously finished fifth in the 500m(1) and ninth in the 500m(2). Gélinas-Beaulieu was also amongst the top 10 skaters in the men’s 1000m, finishing in 10th position with a time of 1:09.833.

In the men’s 5000m, reigning Olympic silver medalist and world record holder Ted-Jan Bloemen of Calgary, Alta. posted a time of 6:28.647, ranking him 13th overall.       

Six Canadian skaters took part in Division B races on Sunday, garnering mixed results.

Jordan Belchos of Toronto, Ont. put forth an impressive performance to earn the first overall ranking in the Division B men’s 5000m, a result that will catapult him into Division A for the distance at the next World Cup stop. A time similar to the 6:20.090 he posted today, which would have ranked him sixth in the top division, will certainly help him compete against the best skaters.

Kaylin Irvine will also advance to Division A next week thanks to a second-place finish in the Division B ladies 1000m. Her time of 1:17.423 was just. 0.94 seconds behind the leader. Teammate Heather McLean came in eight place (1:18.809) in the same race.

Meanwhile, Keri Morrison of Burlington, Ont. raced to a 12th place (4:15.433) finish in the Division B ladies 3000m, while Fiola and David La Rue of Saint-Lambert, Que. both raced in the Division B men’s 1000m, coming in 17th place (1:11.172) and 23rd place (1:11.711), respectively.

Canada’s long track team will look to build upon their success in Obihiro – where they earned one team medal and eight top 10 results in individual distances – as they continue their ISU World Cup season in Tomakomai, Japan next weekend.

For more information on the event, including links to full results, please visit https://www.speedskating.ca/events/world-cup-1-lt.